Family ties aren’t always apparent in the wild world of sports-entertainment. Strangers share last names, the word “brother” gets thrown around with complete disregard, and it’s nearly impossible to spot a resemblance when a guy’s wearing a mask.
Plenty of Superstars have embraced their legacies, but others have kept their relations secret. That was until WWE.com went ahead and shook the sports-entertainment family tree. See the 19 kings, accountants and even a white rapper who fell out on our list of Superstars you didn’t know were related, presented by Wrangler.
1.) The Honky Tonk Man is Jerry "The King" Lawler cousin
If you grew up in Memphis, there’s a good chance there’s at least one Elvis impersonator in the gene pool.
The Lawler clan certainly went all out in this regard: Not only did Jerry Lawler’s mother give birth to a son who called himself “The King,” but her sister’s own son channeled the late, great Mr. Presley throughout a career, shake, rattling and rolling his way to the longest Intercontinental Championship reign of all time as The Honky Tonk Man.
We’re still waiting for the duet, but perhaps that’s confided to the Lawler home movie archive — for better or worse.
2.) Cody Rhodes is the The Shockmaster nephew
Proving, that Dusty isn’t the only one who hit hard times in the Rhodes family, “The American Dream’s” brother-in-law — and Cody Rhodes’ uncle — can lay claim to living through the most disastrous debut in sports-entertainment history.
Cody’s uncle by marriage to his mother’s sister, “Uncle Fred” is better known to the WWE Universe — and the sports-entertainment community at large — as The Shockmaster. The lovable lug’s arrival at Clash of the Champions XXIV as Sting and The British Bulldog’s mystery partner shot immediately into infamy when he plowed through the drywall of Ric Flair’s talk show set and fell flat on his face, losing his spangled Stormtrooper helmet in the process. Given Dusty’s role in WCW back in the day, Thanksgivings at the Rhodes’ house must have been brutal for a while there.
3.) Greg The Hammer Valentine is Brian Knobbs brother in-law
WWE Hall of Famer Greg “The Hammer” Valentine has had many distinctions over the years. He rock ‘n’ rolled with The Honky Tonk Man, battled Roddy Piper in a notoriously brutal Dog Collar Match and even broke Wahoo McDaniel’s leg.
Brian Knobbs joined up with Jerry Sags to form The Nasty Boys — one of the most devastating duos of the ’90s with tag title reigns in both WWE and WCW.
What do the two Superstars have in common (besides their blond hair and bad attitudes)? Valentine’s wife Julie’s sister, Toni, is married to Knobbs. Yep, two of the rings’ hardest hitters are brothers-in-law. If you’re shocked, think of the grandma that has to sit in-between the two at family parties.
4.) The Dynamite Kid is The British Bulldog cousin
Both “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith — with his extraordinary power and physique — and “The Dynamite Kid” Thomas Billington — with his revolutionary in-ring style – carved out distinguished careers within the world of wrestling that included a much-celebrated run as the tag team, The British Bulldogs.
Although the former World Tag Team Champions shared extraordinary in-ring chemistry, it was their equally captivating conflict — both inside and outside the squared circle — that may surprise some to learn that these two British-born grapplers are cousins. Furthermore, both Superstars are also tied to the legendary Hart family through marriage.
5.) John Laurinatis is Road Warrior Animal brother
Many WWE fans recognize Road Warrior Hawk and Animal as brothers-in-arms, but did you know that Animal’s biological brother is none other than despised former General Manager John Laurinaitis? That’s right: Big Johnny is the little brother of The Legion of Doom’s powerhouse.
Despite their family ties, Animal and the onetime Johnny Ace rarely appeared in the ring together, choosing instead to make their names on their own. While The Road Warriors plowed through teams in WWE, the NWA and the AWA, “Mr. Excitement” achieved his greatest in-ring success in the rough-and-tumble rings of All Japan Pro Wrestling, often teaming with the likes of “Dr. Death” Steve Williams and Stan Hansen. The Laurinaitis wrestling dynasty doesn’t end there, either: Marc Laurinaitis, the youngest of the three brothers, grappled, too, under the name “The Terminator.”
6.) Terry Bam Bam Gordy is Slam Master J father
Arguably, he achieved more notoriety in WWE as Jesse of Jesse & Festus — the downhome, biscuits-and-gravy tandem that ran hot on SmackDown in 2007. But, for the sake of contrast, let’s remember him as Slam Master J — the goofball white rapper who formed an off-kilter tag team with Jimmy Wang Yang in 2009. If you remember that odd pairing — and if you have any idea who The Miracle Violence Connection is — you’ll be schnockered to learn that Slam Master is the son of Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy.
The anchor of the somehow-not-in-the-WWE-Hall-of-Fame Fabulous Freebirds and part of The Miracle Violence Connection alongside “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Gordy was 300 pounds of unfiltered Tennessee whoop ass. At 5-foot-10, 220 pounds, Slam Master J lacked the size of his superheavyweight dad — his scope and approach made him more reminiscent of the late, great Freebird Buddy Roberts — but there was no mistaking the family talent.
7.) Sam Houston is Jake The Snake Roberts brother; Rockin Robin is his sister
They didn’t share a last name and there wasn’t much of a family resemblance, so it was easy for WWE fans to miss the fact that three competitors on the 1988 roster were related. However, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Sam Houston and Rockin’ Robin were just that. All three were children of former pro Grizzly Smith — although Jake had a different mother than Sam and Robin — but commentators never made any mention of their connection. Houston and Roberts did compete in the same bout once, however, each appearing in the inaugural Royal Rumble Match in 1988.
8.) Blackjack Mulligan is Irwin R Schyster father in-law
Robert Windham’s WWE Hall of Fame career began more than 40 years ago under the black cowboy hat of Blackjack Mulligan — one-half of the legendary Blackjacks and a man who was topped only by Andre the Giant in terms of who was the biggest and roughest Superstar of the ’70s. Mulligan’s reputation as double tough and double talented was passed onto his son, Barry Windham, who also enjoyed a WWE Hall of Fame career as a member of The Four Horsemen. Blackjack’s son-in-law, however, went a different route.
Irwin R. Schyster — the despised tax collector who terrorized Superstar’s backbones and bank accounts in the mid-90s — married the big Texan’s daughter, Stephanie, in the ’80s. Whether or not he gives Blackjack a break come April 15 remains to be seen
9.) Dusty Rhodes is Jerry Sag's brother in-law
Ever hear the one about the son of a plumber from Texas and a Nasty Boy from Nastyville who became part of one big happy family? It happened when Dusty Rhodes’ wife’s sister married Jerry Sags, making the two men brothers-in-law.
It may sound like an unusual coupling, but “The American Dream” and the master of the “Pit Stop” have been more than just relatives through marriage. They actually teamed up in the squared circle at WCW Fall Brawl 1994 when The Nasty Boys, Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes bested Terry Funk, Arn Anderson, Bunkhouse Buck and Col. Robert Parker in a brutal War Games Match.
Just goes to show that even polar opposites can coexist with a strong family bond.